Whenever I’m embarking on a run to the tune of a new album—my favorite way to ‘first listen’—I wonder one thing: will this take me on a journey or not? It’s a lofty expectation for a musical line-up mixed with a dose of endorphins, sure, but since it’s happened before I know it’s possible. The most recent dose of Beyonce did it, while Pharrell’s GIRL did not. The latter is the more likely case, leaving me regularly bored by the bulk of an album as I wait for the few hits to strike and put some pep in my running step.
Yesterday, The Black Keys Turn Blue very much succeeded in the journey category—which is to say that it took me out of myself, away even from the reality that I was running at times, as I sunk into the song layers and lyrics. I’m already a Black Keys fan, so it was no conversion—but their music style isn’t necessarily my number one. That said, when I’m craving some un-classic rock, theirs is a go-to. I know nothing about music terminology and really can’t stand album reviews that stretch to compare songs to soufflés or other far-fetched foodstuffs, so I’ll spare you any attempt at trying to put sounds into overwrought syllables.
I will say this though, if you already love the band, you will enjoy this album. If, however, their blend of alt-rock isn’t your style, Turn Blue is probably not groundbreaking enough to change that—it is not, for instance, like Daft Punk’s most recent album, which seemed to alter widespread perceptions about the band. However, one thing that The Black Keys’ albums consistently have are wonderful lyrics that are simple and straightforward without caving to clichés. Predictably, there’s a lot of love and love lost here, and it’ll churn up much of your romantic history simply by being so relatable. “The Weight of Love” which opens the album is particularly beautiful and definitely one to add to your roster of songs-to-cry to-when-someone-tramples-on-your-heart (because you have one of those playlists too, right?) Ditto, “10 Lovers.”
So check the album out and take its temperature yourself. The only thing I know for sure is that you won’t hate it.